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Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

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During the second half of November the Hernando County Growers Association assisted the Enrichment Centers at several locations in Brooksville to distribute $8,000 of local fruit and vegetables to lower income Hernando County seniors, closing out the 2019 Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is USDA funded through the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and helps improve access to fresh produce for seniors who may need that extra help.

The program provides a once annual benefit of $40 in the form of vouchers that can be redeemed in lieu of cash at participating farms.  The vouchers are valid April 1 through October 5.  Undistributed funds were redistributed to Hernando County Seniors in the form of two hundred $40 produce bundles at pop-up market events the Enrichment Centers locations at Bud McKethan Park and Bayfront Hospital Brooksville
The Enrichment Centers and the Growers Association distributed $10,000 of vouchers with Hernando Seniors this spring.

The Enrichment Centers is a non-profit program serving adults in our community for 26 years. They are determined to help you live a healthier and fulfilling life with many programs, activities and services provided at three locations in Hernando County.

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Activities include crafts, dances, yoga and exercise and much  more. They help seniors get involved with the community. “We let the members put together activities that they enjoy,” Dell Barnes Sr Executive Director stated. The cost to be part of the Enrichment program is just $15.00 a year. The membership includes many benefits as well.

Participating farms set up a special edition of the Brooksville Farmers Market in the parking lot at Bayfront Health Brooksville Hospital and The Mining Association Enrichment Center in Brooksville. Eligible Seniors received $40.00 in tokens and a re-usable canvas farmers market shopping bag, and had their choice of produce and honey. Participating farms included Tall Pines Farms, Chaotic Acres Farm, Beasley
Farm, Batten Family Farm, Aeja Farm, Hobbit Honey Apiaries, and Kokopeli Farm. Many are part of the weekly Brooksville Farmers Market on Sundays in downtown Brooksville.

The Hernando County Growers Association sponsors the Brooksville Farmers Market every Sunday where SNAP participants can  purchase fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers. The Market provides a $40 match for SNAP customers under the Fresh Access Bucks program. This is a program, known as FAB is provided through Feeding Florida and is part of a statewide network of over 50 markets that accept the matched dollars in the form of tokens. FAB matches what a SNAP purchases, up to$40 per day, every market day.

The Growers Association sponsors several other events to include the Brooksville Bike Rally and what has now become Brooksville Main Street’s Arts and Autos. “When people come to Hernando County, we want them to have a variety of experiences to choose from. We try to make it a good experience,” said President of the Hernando County Growers Association, Michael DeFelice.

Eligible Seniors will be able to participate in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program again in April 2020 and receive vouchers for fresh vegetables and produce. You can check out the Brooksville Farmers Market Sundays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Brooksville at 615 Old Hospital Drive.

For more information about The Enrichment Centers programs, contact Dell O’Barnes Sr. at 352-544-6022. To contact the Hernando County Growers Association or for questions about the Brooksville Farmers Market, contact Mike DeFelice at 727-422-3360 or follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HernandoGrowers.


Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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